Project Hosting Solutions: Another Comparison of Options

Ages ago, when this blog was still hosted on WordPress.com, I had written a post, comparing several project hosting solutions. Well, things have changed since then, and I have found a couple more that I want to share.

At the time I was working on a student project and all I needed was some source control. A project hosting service would provide much more than that, which I didn’t take into account at all. Now when comparing similar services, issues like integrated bugtracking, the type of source control system used and availability of private repositories are much more important to me than they were in my previous review.

Here’s a list of what I want no matter what:

  • Private repository (at least one).
  • Support for a distributed version control system (Git or Mercurial).
  • Integration with a bugtracker.

So the the following are four more project hosting services for anyone who needs an integrated solution with private source control hosting:

Bitbucket

This is my personal favorite. Lately I’ve been reading about distributed version control systems (DVCS), like Mercurial and Git, and growing fond of them. I can say that I switched to using Mercurial for all my personal projects. Bitbucket is a service that gives you unlimited private and public source repositories based on Mercurial, with an integrated bugtracker for free up to 5 users. They also have other pricing plans for larger projects, but this is the best free offer you will find on the market. I’ve been using Bitbucket for a while now and these terms are new, after today they announced they’ve been acquired by Atlassian. Definitively a good bet.

Kiln

A work of FogCreek software, which you’ve probably heard of (Joel Spolsky). Kiln is a system implemented on top of Mercurial, which adds some advanced features (not listed because they are irrelevant in the comparison). One good thing is that it integrates very nicely with FogBugz, a top-notch bugtracking tool. Please note that what I’ve used is the so-called “Student and Startup Edition”, which allows for unlimited space and number of repositories for 2 users. They provide a standalone Kiln client, but any Mercurial client should work (if you want tighter integration with your IDE for example).

Project Locker

Up to 3 projects, 500MB, 5 users – free. That’s their offering. The difference here would be that they offer Subversion and Git hosting, rather than Mercurial. If that’s the type of source control you’d rather use, maybe this is a better option for you. Github might actually be better known, but as of now they don’t offer a private repository for free, and that’s one of my primary concerns. The con I find about Project Locker is their speed and the clumsy and unfriendly web interface. They also only provide TRAC for bugtracking, and put ads on those pages when you browse, which is probably understandable, but still a downside.

Beanstalk

This is what I used before I switched to Project Locker. The two are probably comparable, Beanstalk have a free account for 3 users, 1 private repository and 100MB of space. Subversion and Git are supported, but space is definitely a limiting factor here. The web interface is wonderful compared to Project Locker, but I wouldn’t use this for anything else than a test project simply because of the 100 MB limitation. Please note that they also don’t provide integration with a bugtracking service.

I’ve been researching services similar to the ones above for more than a year or two now, and the ones I mentioned are what I consider the best at the moment. Please share your comments if you’ve used some of them and have any particular impressions or know about another one I probably haven’t heard of. Until the next edition of such a comparison, happy coding.